Monday, March 25, 2013
Why you shouldn't say "that's not my job!"
Since I was 18, I´ve taken on gigs that I didn´t know for sure whether I could pull off, until I did. To this day, when an opportunity or challenge makes me slightly queasy because I can actually imagine failing at it, I know I need to say yes and take it on. That´s the fast track to know-how.
And that´s how I take every single professional endeavor – as an opportunity for growth and learning. I don´t always learn my lessons from someone else. It´s often my own curiosity that pushes me to acquire new skills. It´s a kind of survival mechanism. If I don´t know how to do something, I will usually figure it out, or at least give it my best shot.
“That´s not my job,” kills more good opportunities than we know. I don´t say it. Here´s why: Because when you do what´s not “your job,” you learn someone else´s job. And guess what that does? It gives you a new skill …
Because I can do the job of every person on my team and do it well, when I have a request for them I know exactly what it entails and what to expect. Because I can step into their shoes at any time, I´m not scared that someone will get sick or even quit. I would not be left hanging, as I could stand in at a moment´s notice and the show would go on. I appreciate them all, mind you … more than they know perhaps (although I try to make it a point of expressing my gratitude daily), but it's a good feeling to know I've got my back! That's not to say I want to do it all, but it's certainly comforting knowing I'm able to.
So, next time you think of saying: “that´s not my job,” reconsider. Being capable of doing the job of every one or most people in your team makes you invaluable. It also allows you to be a better manager when the time comes. Oh, not everyone will like you – as this knowledge may make you more demanding or have others look like slackers – but that’s going to happen anyway no matter what you do.